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Diamond couple’s 60 years together

14:15 08 August 2012

Stuart & Shelagh Sansom of Chichester Close Exmouth

Stuart & Shelagh Sansom of Chichester Close Exmouth


Working as a forester in Peru and sailing across the Atlantic in your 70s would be distinguished additions to anyone’s CV.

But now Stuart Sansom has gone one better after he and his wife Shelagh celebrated 60 years of marriage.

The couple, who are aged 86 and 82, marked the occasion with a lunch for family and friends at Courtlands House, Lympstone.

Today the couple, who married on July 26, 1952, live in Chichester Close, Exmouth.

Stuart, who was born in St Andrews Road, first met Shelagh, who was originally from Topsham, at the Exmouth Pavilion when he asked her for a dance.

They were married at St Leonard’s Church in Exeter, followed by a lunchtime reception at the George and Dragon Pub in Clyst St Mary.

They honeymooned on a motorbike, driving down through France with the huge sum of £25 each to spend as in postwar Britain they were limited as to the amount of money they could legally take out of the country.

Having trained in forestry, Stuart got a job in Peru – where he set up a factory in the middle of the jungle.

Shelagh joined him after six months and they stayed for two years, coming home to have their first son, Mark.

When Mark was 18 months old they moved to Nigeria, where they stayed for two years before coming home to have their second son, Raymond. They went on to have David and twins Patrick and Claire, with Stuart working for many years a as an international sales manager at Swifts of Exmouth.

Shelagh was kept busy with her five children, later working as a dinner lady at Withycombe Raleigh Primary School, on whose PTA she also served.

She is a keen family historian, having traced her family tree back to the 1700s.

Stuart is an avid sailor who spent time in the navy for his national service. He has been a long-standing member of Exmouth Sailing Club, sailing often to France and taking his boat Thursday Child down to Majorca, where he and Shelagh spent the first part of their retirement sailing around the coastline of Spain, Portugal and France.

Together with two friends, Stuart also sailed across the Atlantic aged 73.

Daughter Claire said: “[Mum and Dad] also love to travel and they spent four months travelling to Australia, New Zealand, and America.

“They still enjoy spending their winters in Spain.”


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